Egyptian God Anubis
Egyptian god of the
dead, represented as a black jackal or dog, or as a man with the head of
a dog or jackal. He was the guide of the dead as they made their way
through the darkness of the underworld. As a patron of magic, it was
believed he could foresee a persons destiny, in this role he was the
announcer of death. God of orphans, travelers, and the lost.
Anubis, also known as Anpu and Anu-Oobist, is the jackal god of embalming. He is the Opener of the Way, or as some might prefer to call him the Guardian of the Veil. To some he was God of Embalming, Mummification, Guardian and Guide to the Spirits of the Deceased, Patron of Orphans and Lost Souls, God of Magic, and the Egyptian Personification of Time.
was also considered a great messenger, one who carried messages from the
Underworld to the Gods and Goddesses of the Heavens, as well as from
these deities to mankind itself. He was a diplomat with a dark and
sardonic nature, but showing of compassion. He served a vital role to
both the peoples and the scheme of the Gods.
many ways, Anubis is the most enigmatic of the gods of ancient Egypt, a
god who was neither what he seemed nor what he should have been. His
mother was Nephthys, wife and sister of Set, whom everyone assumed to be
Anubis' father. His real father, however, was Osiris, husband and
brother of Isis. Nephthys, weary of being childless through her husband,
took or maybe seduced Osiris to be a lover.
Set, Anubis did feel compassion for humanity and did not wreak havoc
upon human civilization. Though Nephthys wanted
to have a child, she quickly decided that Anubis was not that child.
He lacked the wild temperament and chaotic nature that attracted her
so strongly to Set. Putting her "fling" with Osiris behind
her, she abandoned Anubis, which was no cause of sorrow to Set, who,
of course, had immediately noted how unlike him Anubis was.
Isis found the abandoned Anubis, took him in and raised him as if he
were one of her own children, Anubis became Isis' protector and
After the early period of the Old Kingdom, he was
superseded by Osiris as god of the dead, being relegated to a supporting
role as a god of the funeral cult and of the care of the dead. The black
colour represented the colour of human corpses after they had undergone
the embalming process. In the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as
presiding over the weighing of the heart of the deceased in the Hall of
the Two Truths. In his role as psychopomp he was referred to as the
"conductor of souls". The Greeks later identified him with
their god Hermes, resulting in the composite deity Hermanubis. His
principal sanctuary was at the necropolis in Memphis and in other
cities. Anubis was also known as Khenty- Imentiu - "chief of the
westerners" - a reference to the Egyptian belief that the realm of
the dead lay to the west in association with the setting sun, and to
their custom of building cemeteries on the west bank of the Nile.
generally depicted as a black jackal-headed man, or as a black jackal.
The Egyptians would have noticed the jackals prowling around the
graveyards, and so the link between the animal and the dead was formed
in their minds. Anubis was painted black to further link him with the
deceased - a body that has been embalmed became a pitch black color.
Black was also the color of fertility, and thus linked to death and
rebirth in the afterlife. Anubis was also seen as the deity of
embalming, as well as a god of the dead. To the Egyptians, Anubis was
the protector of embalming and guardian of both the mummy and the
When the Osiris worship
came to power, Osiris took over many of Anubis' jobs as caretaker and
protector of the dead. As this happened, Anubis became 'He Who is Before the
Divine Booth', the god of embalming who presided over the funerary rituals.
The funerary stm priests would wear a mask of the
jackal god during the mummification process, symbolically becoming the god for
The preliminary stages of mummification involved the opening - the violation - of the body, an action that only Anubis himself would have been allowed to perform. The priest who took on this role was called the 'Overseer of the Mysteries' (hery seshta). It was thought that he would be magically become the funerary god himself and so be able to legitimately cut open the corpse for the mummification process.
usually represented as a recumbent black dog. In the tomb of Tutankhamun
he sits above a shrine equipped with carrying poles, watching, guarding the
entrance to the Treasury room daring anyone to enter. His role is to
guard the vicera (internal organs) of the king, which were kept mummified
within a beautiful canopic shrine.
Anubis' head is pointing forcibly forwards, his pointed
golden ears are vertical, as if listening with canine precision for anyone who
would dare enter. His body is swathed in a linen cloth and around his
neck - a gold collar. Anubis' eyes are made of calcite (white) and
obsidian (black) and are set in gold, his eyebrows are also made of gold, and
are wedjat style - the eye of Horus. His long forelegs reach out
in front of him, while his long tail is draped over the edge of the golden
shrine. All around the sides of the shrine, which is made of guilded
wood, are rows of double djed pillars and double sacred tyet
knots - magical symbols for stability and
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